Today let’s talk about self-care. I know, it just sounds bad doesn’t it? (It has the word “self” in it so it must be bad, right?) I’d like to challenge that thinking–it’s a fallacy and one that can hurt you. Since I’m not comfortable using my ministry friends for this example (although there are quite a few, I’ll be the example. When I began in ministry twenty years ago, all I wanted to do was serve Jesus, work in ministry and help children. It was children’s ministry so naturally it was fun with lots of opportunities to be creative and encourage others along the way.
One year in and I was a mess. Every waking moment I was “on.” Whenever someone needed me, I was there, from worried parents to overworked parents I was never said no. I ended up tired, overweight, physically sick and just plain beat down.
I know what some will think because I used to think these things too. She didn’t do it right. She obviously didn’t read the Bible enough, or pray enough or take enough breaks. Surely she tried to do it all by herself. She didn’t delegate, she didn’t inspire others to help shoulder the load. Maybe she was always in bad health or worst and most shameful of all assumptions-maybe God didn’t call her to work in ministry. Yes, that has to be it because God equips us with everything we need.
And so goes the cruel circle. For many of us, there are no voices telling us to slow down. Take a break. Get refreshed. Let it go. There is no one to lean on, cry on or encourage us to take better care of ourselves.
Please do that. Learn what self-care means and cultivate it. Self-care is not selfish and it’s not wordly. God only called one Shepherd to die for the sheep. God needs you healthy, in all ways, spiritually, mentally and physically.
How do you get started? Listen to your body. Don’t ignore the warning signs that you might see. Monitor your health. Have a balance in your home life. Set boundaries for your ministry time and most importantly of all–keep them.
This isn’t a complete guide on the subject of self-care. Not by any stretch of the imagination. But I hope it will be enough to encourage you to take care of yourself. Don’t forget that God values you too.
You can do it!